Overview The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Fish Hatchery System (NFHS) maintains a large network of production and research facilities dedicated to improving conservation efforts for fish and aquatic species around the nation. Although the facilities are diverse in many ways, including size and operational settings, there are several common challenges that could grow to be more severe if not addressed. These include a higher demand for water amidst limited or dwindling water supplies, aging infrastructure, and changing environmental conditions that affect both influent and effluent water quality and quantity. As a result, the USFWS has begun a modernization effort with the goal of producing solutions that will allow them to sustainably to meet their conservation and recreation mission.
Our Role As an initial step in the modernization process, Four Peaks and teaming partner, The Freshwater Institute, conducted initial assessments and assisted with master planning efforts at the following five flagship facilities:
These initial assessments aim to provide a planning template for modernizing the entire NFHS with a focus on incorporating advances in aquaculture technology to: (1) improve the reliability of the facilities; (2) increase facility and operational resilience to changing environmental conditions; and (3) ensure the overall sustainability of the NFHS mission. Over the course of the project, the Four Peaks team performed site visits at each of the flagship facilities to identify information needs; assess existing infrastructure, water supply and quality, fish health, and biosecurity; and identify solutions that maximize the use of existing infrastructure. Our team then completed conceptual and master planning reports for each of the five facilities as well as an overarching system challenges report that encompasses lessons learned during each of the five assessments.